FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to appear before a US court on Thursday after being extradited from the Bahamas, where he has remained since the crypto exchange is now closed. His bankruptcy collapsed.
Bankman-Fried, 30, was arrested last week in the Bahamas, where he lives and where FTX is headquartered, after federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged him with theft. billions of dollars in FTX client assets to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research, cementing the one-time billionaire’s downfall.
He left the Caribbean nation under FBI custody shortly after 8pm EST (01:00 GMT) on Tuesday night. Just hours later, US prosecutors said two of his closest former associates had pleaded guilty and were cooperating with their investigation – a move that significantly increased pressure on Bankman-Fried. .
At the trial in the United States, known as the impeachment trial, Bankman-Fried is expected to be asked to give a plea. The judge will decide whether to release him and if so, on what conditions.
A spokesman for his US legal team declined to comment.
Bankman-Fried acknowledged risk management failures at FTX, but said he did not believe he was criminally responsible. At a trial in the Bahamas on Wednesday, his attorney there, Jerone Roberts, read an affidavit in which Bankman-Fried said he had agreed to extradition in part because of his “desire to be freed.” resolve all relevant customers”.
He attended the hearing in a salmon-colored courthouse in the capital, Nassau, wearing a vest jacket and button-down shirt, a far cry from the casual attire he was known for running FTX. He spoke briefly to tell the judge he waives his right to object to extradition, and said he ate and was in good health.
Since his arrest on Monday, Bankman-Fried has been held at the Bahamas Department of Corrections prison, known as Fox Hill. A US State Department report in 2021 called conditions at the prison “harsh” although local authorities said the facility had improved since.
The son of two Stanford Law School professors and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Bankman-Fried has driven the explosion in the value of bitcoin and other digital assets to become a multi-billionaire. as well as an influential sponsor for the United States political campaigns.
But in early November, reports that FTX mixed customer funds with Alameda led to a wave of withdrawals from FTX, eventually causing the exchange – valued at $32 billion in January 2022 – to declare bankrupt. Cryptocurrency exchanges like FTX allow users to buy and sell digital assets.
Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO on November 11, the same day it filed for bankruptcy.